Wednesday, March 10, 2010

driving the Toddles

Once per week, the Toddles and I have a quiet morning together. In the car, of course.

The bonus of the Eldest's insistence on the whole grow-and-develop thing is that he now gets dumped weekly into a carpool car. Calmly slinging his booster seat over one arm, he trots cheerfully out the door. I look at my milk-and-Earl-Grey, astonished by the idea of actually finishing it. For the next 25 minutes, the Toddles and I wander around the house, slightly bewildered but distinctly pleased with outselves. Naturally, this means that we're reliably late leaving the house.

But once we're in the car, and I've finished my weekly rant on why on earth does this morning always end badly, we remember love and smiles and begin to chat. One week, the Toddles told me a long, detailed story about flying to visit his grandparents, explaining his speed in flight in relation to the cars' speed on the highway. (He is faster, apparently. But willing to wait for his grandfather's car to catch up to him at prearranged meeting points. I approved.) Another week, he described a series of dreams. Detailed. Color-rich and fascinatingly kaleidoscopic.

And promptly forgotten. (ack, ack, ack)

This week, sitting in godawful traffic, taking deep, post-rant breaths, I whipped out a pencil and paper, and scrawled notes. The following is whatever was vaguely legible, and the soundtrack is by They Might Be Giants, here comes science.

In the song, they say they will drive the electric car to a website.
to the West Side?
Maybe. But they say website. And they can't - websites don't have houses.

The white blood cells are fierce. So is the voice [of the singer].

[in response to the mama's praise for active, interpretive reading] I only accept real high-fives.

We're going over 120 miles per hour!
The mama looks at her mirrors, notes the police car sitting calmly on the side of the highway, writing a ticket for a hapless car. Refuses to panic.
It's 120 on the tiny numbers.
oh. Metric is tricky.

when we go to the car fix-er, I can calculate! With the buttons!
(pause to give thanks to the wise mechanic, who stocks giant calculators under his counter. Insofar as I can tell, he does so primarily for my kids.)

And, above all:

you know, "right now" helps.

I believe that last, and it's extraordinarily poignant. I spend the rest of the drive contemplating the fiery neural network strapped in behind me, which I'd already ripped at for dawdling. And how that charged brain coexists with a cheerfully absolute sense of timelessness. Not deliberately choosing to ignore time, simply unaware of it. Five minutes means nothing to the Toddles, if you finish quickly, you can do Fun Thing is a tease, because what does quickly mean? And can you be done first? creates a panic, and oftentimes, tears. Time, in whatever sphere the Toddles floats in, is fluid. Minutes are flexible, and Time To Go is absolutely, positively someone else's problem.

I suspect I know whose it is, too.

1 comment:

Auntie A said...

Yay! Toddles commentary! Write down more...